An Illusion of Harmony

It's out! An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam is now available in bookstores, amazon.com, etc. etc. Just in time, John Gray has a full-length review in the latest New Scientist. With any luck, An Illusion of Harmony will benefit from the current public interest in all things Islamic.Buy the book! It won't make me rich, but if you want decent, accessible critiques of religion to be available to the general public, you should support books like this when they are published. (OK, … [Read more...]

Secular Islam Summit

On March 4, 5, in St Petersburg, Florida, a "Secular Islam Summit" appears to be scheduled. Nice idea. It wouldn't hurt to have more discussion of secularist ideas in a Muslim context. And it could be interesting to see what comes out of a gathering of secular-oriented dissidents with Muslim roots.Unfortunately, I don't see the summit as shaping up that way. Right now, it's bringing together too many people who confuse desire for a more secular Islamic culture with praise of American and Israeli … [Read more...]

Forthcoming books

My Science and Nonbelief came out in 2006. Unfortunately, the hardcover costs $65, which is absurdly expensive. Too bad, because it's a damn good book, and I like that I was able to include a good number of illustrations to help the text along.Anyway, the good news is that Prometheus picked up the paperback rights, and the new edition will be coming out this November, for $18.95. Much more reasonable.While I'm at it, I have a completely new book coming out in just a couple of weeks: An Illusion … [Read more...]

Those Crazy Jewish Evolutionists

International Jewish conspiracies and anti-evolution screeds all rolled into one [link]. The money quote:The memo points to "indisputable evidence" that "evolution science has a very specific religious agenda" and refers readers to a Web site that asserts the universe revolves around the earth. It also suggests that Jewish physicists are part of the force behind a "centuries-old conspiracy" to destroy the Christian teachings of Earth's origins. … [Read more...]

Fundamentalist scientists

A previous student of mine pointed out an interesting article in The New York Times, on a fundamentalist Ph.D. geologist who is a young earther. Now there's someone who's going to have an interesting career.Not that this sort of thing is hugely unusual. Back when I was in graduate school (almost 20 years ago now—urh) I knew another physics Ph.D. student who was very conservatively religious and was inclined toward a young-earth position. It's a crazy position to hold if you're going to be a … [Read more...]

The Greek gods are back

Or rather, are being worshipped again in Greece:To the astonishment of onlookers, [Doreta] Peppa also began babbling Orphic hymns, before thrusting her arms upwards into the Attic skies and proceeding, somewhat deliriously, to warble her love for the gods of Mount Olympus. But, then, for the motley group of modern pagans coalesced around the temple's giant Corinthian columns, this was a special moment. Not since the late fourth century AD, when the newly Christian Roman state outlawed all forms … [Read more...]

Silly Arguments

Taner Edis lists one of Harris' "silly arguments" against atheism in which "religion is used as a rationale for other aims." He concludes, correctly I think, that "paying attention to the political, economic, and social background of religious groups is indispensable." I agree. After all, the Abolitionist Movement in the U.S. probably would not have gotten very far in the North if its early adherents did not fashion a religious argument to bolster the main secular case. That's hardly a silly … [Read more...]

“Silly retorts to atheism”: Really?

In his latest column in Free Inquiry, Sam Harris gives a list of "silly retorts to atheism" made by atheists reluctant to oppose religion, and announces a contest to come up with short replies.Now, the four items on Harris's list are indeed dubious. Nonetheless, I think most of them bring up good questions, which are obscured by Harris's caricature. Let me go through them one by one.1. Even though I’m an atheist, my friends are atheists, and we all get along fine without pretending to know that o … [Read more...]


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